ACH Statement on Digital Humanities Conferences and Events

As advocates for social change through the use of computers and related technologies in the study of humanistic subjects, the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) notes that decisions regarding participation in conferences, co-sponsorships, and other in-person events should be made with careful attention to the safety of the most vulnerable members of our community. We are committed to providing venues for our members to build their scholarly reputations and networks, but we must balance those opportunities with concerns about the impact of local, state, national, and institutional policies on individual members and their safety.

While it is impossible in 2017 to know fully how current or forthcoming Executive Orders, legislation, or judicial rulings may impact the ability of US institutions to host an academic conference in 2020 that is welcoming, safe, and accessible for all scholars and students who wish to participate, ACH is fully committed to doing everything we can to live up to our statement of academic values and to supporting our diverse constituencies. In 2020, the annual ADHO conference for digital humanities is slated to be held in either the US or Canada. We urge careful consideration by potential hosts of a number of issues:

  1. The impact of U.S. Presidential Executive Orders related to immigration and whether the lack of opportunity to participate by scholars affected by those orders  contravenes one’s personal and institutional values;
  2. Potential issues associated with securing visas by citizens of countries identified by the US Government as nations of concern;
  3. The impact of US Immigration and Border Control procedures related to data privacy and data harvesting;
  4. Access to local resources including health care, police assistance, and other state services by scholars of diverse backgrounds;
  5. Issues of accessibility to both physical and virtual spaces.

ACH encourages potential hosts to provide itemized information related to these issues in any potential bids for the 2020 conference. ACH is unlikely to support potential hosts who cannot provide information on how these issues will shape potential conference going by its members. The ADHO steering committee will make all final decisions concerning bids, with ACH being one part of the steering committee along with other constituent organizations.

ACH recognizes that intellectual, cultural, institutional, and other forms of diversity are of paramount importance to the digital humanities. As a scholarly organization engaged in the global project of digital humanities research, teaching, service, and activism, ACH is open to all, regardless of geographic location, as non-U.S. members have important perspectives to offer to U.S.-based digital humanities practitioners.

ACH enriches the digital humanities as it contributes to an array of conferences via its members’ submissions; via participation in program, local host, and conference coordinating committees; and via its co-sponsorship of sessions at DH and other disciplinary conferences and events.  We believe that these activities both enable our members to expand their scholarly networks and provide opportunities for personal, intellectual, and institutional development.

Please contact us at if you are considering hosting an ACH-sponsored event or considering a proposal for the ADHO Digital Humanities 2020 conference, as ACH may be able to provide assistance in developing your proposal in ways that take account of the issues outlined above.


By Jen Guiliano

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